Thursday, February 28, 2019

Toward Vol.2: Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X

"The real problem is that you don't know the real problem!"--Ancestor Amiri Baraka

North American Africans have reached a consensus, especially among the grass roots and conscious
sector of students and intellectuals, that we were living throughout the Americas as free people
centuries before our induction into the Euro-American slave system kidnapped us into chattel slavery.
As we "celebrate" the 400th year of our sojourn in the wilderness of North America, it is surely time
to consider where we go from here! Shall we continue our integration into the burning house as MLK,Jr. concluded after his abject failure to free us from Jim Crowism or post-slavery de facto slavery that has now morphed into wage slavery and Constitutional slavery known as involuntary servitude--sounds nice, doesn't it? While I enjoyed involuntary servitude for refusing to fight in Vietnam for US imperialism, I observed inmates doing hard labor. Because I could type 80 words per minute, I was assigned a clerk job in the yard office. I used to cry when I saw the brothers return from hard labor each day, dusty and crusty from working in construction level jobs. I was so thankful my typing skills and college education spared me the hard labor of my brothers.

But out here in the "big yard" I am yet horrified that my wage slave brothers and sisters are yet one
paycheck away from homelessness, one paycheck away from living in tents under freeway
overpasses, while simultaneously the children of the domestic colonialists, known as gentrifiers and
millennials enjoy the displacement of the suffering masses. And the supreme irony is that we are
supposed to accept the pseudo liberal white supremacist Democratic Socialists Green Agenda  as the panacea of our pathological pandemic condition steeped in structural political and
economic inequities. Can I sell you the Brooklyn bridge?

Brothers and Sisters, we have come to a cul de sac in our marriage with America! There is no solution between married couples with irreconcilable differences except Separation and divorce.
Four hundred years of slavery, suffering and death, down to the present moment of police murder under the color of law, incarceration of almost three million mostly North American Africans and poor people, the time has come, I repeat, the time has come to separate into a nation of our own!

I am not the first to say this. Our ancestors said this throughout the 19th centuary in numerous pronouncements at Black conferences and meetings. There were back to Africa movements then as their are now with the Blaxit Movement of our children returning to our Motherland and being fully embraced by our African brothers and sisters. I am proud to say my daughter Muhammida El Muhajir is among those of our children who have returned home after realizing America is not the cradle of freedom for North American Africans, no matter their skills and potential. She reached the glass ceiling and now lives in Accra, Ghana.
--Marvin X

Black Bird Press News & Review: Breaking News: Dr. Julia joins Ancestors, the fema...

Black Bird Press News & Review: Breaking News: Dr. Julia joins Ancestors, the fema...: Surely we are from Allah  and to Him we return! "I know of no politician with truth at the top of their agenda! --Dr. Julia Hare ...

Black is Beautiful

From Muhammad Speaks to ‘Soul on Ice,’ Black remains Beautiful

Annual “Naturally” fashion shows, spotlighting the Grandassa Models, began with Naturally ’62 in the basement of a Harlem nightclub, which was so popular that Naturally ’63 attracted one of the largest audiences ever seen at the Audubon Ballroom. This photo is of Naturally ’68 at the Apollo Theater, featuring the Grandassa models and AJASS founding members Frank Adu, Elombe Brath and Ernest Baxter. – Photo: Kwame Brathwaite, Courtesy of Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
by Segun Brathwaite
Nowadays, “Black Is Beautiful” is a corporate slogan and often used hashtag for millennial and I Generation social media users. However, applications of the term have been received with various results in the Black community.
This 1968 photo of Grandassa model Pat Bardonelle was in the recent show, “Kwame Brathwaite: Celebrity and the Everyday,” at the Philip Martin Gallery in Los Angeles.
In a March 1858 speech, abolitionist scholar John Swett Rock coined the phrase “Black Is Beautiful.” During the 1920s the Pan Africanist leader Marcus Garvey adopted the term “Black Is Beautiful.” Upon his deportation and eventual death, the concept waned, and calling somebody Black was grounds for a fist fight.
When Carlos Cooks arrived in Harlem from the Dominican Republic, he started a resurgence of Garvey’s teachings. As the head of the African Nationalist Pioneer Movement (ANPM), Cooks started an annual beauty contest called “Miss Natural Standard of Beauty.”
Kwame Brathwaite’s photos, such as this one taken at a Garvey Day Parade in Harlem, encouraged people to see the beauty in Blackness. The New York Times, on Nov. 27, 2018, writes: “Kwame Brathwaite … and his brother understood back then, years before hair and beauty became strongly associated with black politics, that people, sometimes even black people themselves, were blind to how black is beautiful.” – Photo: Kwame Brathwaite, Courtesy of Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
Carlos Cooks’ beauty contest inspired many, including some of his own ANPM members. One such was Elombe Brath, the lifelong president of African Jazz Art Society Studio (AJASS), which he co-founded along with his brother Kwame, Robert Gumbs, Chris Acemendeses Hall and others in 1956.
Their goal was to reclaim jazz as the music of contemporary African traditions that should be controlled by Black artists. AJASS ended up doing more than that, as they created the Grandassa Models a few years later.
The Grandassa Models were the foot soldiers and ambassadors for the Black Is Beautiful Movement. Initially, they were a group of eight Black women of who wore their hair in its natural state and modeled fashion for the world to see “Black Is Beautiful” in a new way.
“Black Is Beautiful” became the slogan of the Black Power Movement. Kwame Brathwaite and his brother Elombe Brath founded the African Jazz Art Society and Studios, or AJASS, an  artist collective that selected models known as “the Grandassas – black women the group recruited to model. Black women with kinky hair, full lips, dark skin, and curvy bodies. Black women who could show other black women that blackness was something to take pride in,” the New York Times wrote in a Nov. 27, 2018, story about the photography of Kwame Brathwaite, who created this 1971 poster from some of his photos.  – Art: Kwame Brathwaite, Courtesy of Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
The “Naturally” shows sparked the Black Is Beautiful Movement of the 1960s in New York City that spread to the rest of the United States, the Caribbean and across the globe.
It had some documented resistance at times, but the steam it gained as a movement was undeniable. Jazz music was still reflective of Black culture in America in this time and the Grandassa Models were popping up on jazz album covers everywhere, while at the same time the Grandassa Models’ runway fashion shows were expanding nationally.
In February of 1963, Naturally ‘63 attracted one of the largest audiences ever seen at the Audubon Ballroom with the Grandassa Models becoming a front-page story in Muhammad Speaks. – Photo: Klytus Smith
In February of 1963, Naturally ‘63 attracted one of the largest audiences ever seen at the Audubon Ballroom with the Grandassa Models becoming a front-page story in Muhammad Speaks, the Nation of Islam paper, which Malcolm X developed from a small column featuring the group’s leader, Elijah Muhammad, into the largest weekly national Black newspaper in the country. This support continued for years.
Featured here is an August 1965 story highlighting one of the Grandassa Models, Jean Gumbs, with a story about the influential ladies going strong after four years while modeling and wearing natural hair styles, putting natural Black beauty on its proper pedestal in its community.
This page from Muhammad Speaks newspaper in 1965 features a photo of Jean Gumbs by Kwame Brathwaite.
The same model, Jean Gumbs was again the center of focus when Eldridge Cleaver expressed adulation for the ambassadors of the Black Is Beautiful Movement.
What makes this tidbit so notable is that it’s no secret that when the former Black Panther boss Eldridge Cleaver released his controversial book “Soul on Ice” in 1968, he upset many when he used disparagingly hateful rhetoric about Black women.
However, it was not always his sentiment. Prior to writing his book, Eldridge Cleaver sent a letter from San Quentin Prison to AJASS offices in Harlem on 125th Street. The letter was addressed to AJASS President Elombe Brath (Cecil Brathwaite at time).
Kathleen Cleaver and Bob Gumbs, AJASS co-founder, are surrounded by pictures of Grandassa Models at the BlackPower50 exhibition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Grandassa Models are shown as part of a committee to restore racial pride picketing a wig shop and in a group photo of AJASS and the models. Below that is a relevant but unrelated picture of the young Pan Africanist Chokwe Lumumba and his wife, Nubia. Chokwe was later elected mayor of Jackson, Miss., died in office and is now succeeded by his son, Chokwe Antar Lumuba. – Photo: Cyril Innis, East Coast Black Panther Party
In the letter, Eldridge was ecstatic and fawning over seeing the Grandassa Models. His letter showed total adulation for Black women with natural hair, marketed and promoted as beauty icons. He was especially effusive about Grandassa Model Jean Gumbs, who was the sister of AJASS member Robert Gumbs.
Eldridge thought the Grandassa Models were the greatest way of marketing “Black Is Beautiful” and hoped to see them in person eventually. After “Soul on Ice” was released, the words inside made it obvious Eldridge had changed his fascination with Black Is Beautiful, but nonetheless that is the effect that seeing the Grandassa Models for the first time had on many people.
Happy Black History Month!
Segun Brathwaite can be reached at

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

If every country run by a black is a shithole, what was america under obama?

If every country run by a black is a shithole
what was america under obama
utopian land of heavenly peace
black man bashed into a white man
whiter than white man to prove he american
we see black police out brutalize white police
black jailers more sadistic than white jailers
wasn't america white shithole before obama
half white black man

so america must be white/black shithole
let's be equal
fair balanced

who colonized the world
shitholes the world over
jungle savages into urban savages
pants sagging 
ass showing savages
what christian cross created shithole dwellers
what good ship jesus john hawkins amazing grace motherfucker
what islamic star and crescent eunuchs 

what democratic party jim crow 
sham freedom sharecropping minstrel show 
white negroes
dancing shuffling watermelon eating fake negroes imitating 
africans trying to be free free free

of shithole mentality
flip the script
false narrative
history his story 
ain't mystery my story
Sun Ra say

sho' ain't herstory

mama don't lie
you don't want mama speak

mama tell how you suckled her breasts
stole her pussy in the hut
stole her man in the hut
stole her child in the hut

yr head is shithole 
mind body soul.
America America
Great Shithole
if truth be told.

--Marvin X

Monday, February 25, 2019

Breaking News: Dr. Julia joins Ancestors, the female Malcolm X

Surely we are from Allah 
and to Him we return!
"I know of no politician with truth at the top of their agenda! --Dr. Julia Hare


by Dr. Nathan Hare

"Adopted nephew" Marvin X, Drs. Julia and Nathan Hare, Attorney Amira Jackmon

By Dr. Nathan Hare, 
In Praise of Dr. Julia Hare
She gave me a private piano concert every time I came to their apartment. 

I had seen her singing and dancing but didn’t know her – call her Julia, the name I gave her, her mother named her Julia Ann – when my high school principal took our senior class to the Tulsa, Oklahoma Booker T. Washington High School’s legendary annual production of “Hijinx.” I remember I was sitting in the upper balcony, far out of reach of her, and didn’t pay her that much mind. It was all a dream world. White folks called the balcony “Nigger Heaven,” but there were no whites around in those days of Jim Crow segregation, Hijinx was nevertheless put on downtown in the city of Tulsa’s Convention Hall, the place where the state militia less than three decades earlier had detained over six thousand black men for their safety, after more than 800 were hospitalized and an estimated 300 killed during the bombing of Black Wall Street, the only time whites have bombed blacks from the air in American history.

But, two years after I saw her for the first time, I was walking across the all-black campus of Oklahoma’s Langston University with a friend one afternoon when I suddenly stopped and told him: “There’s that l’il ol’ skinny girl who was playing that piano last night, and won first prize in the Freshman Talent Show; I think I’ll take her to the movie.” And he laughed and bet me a dollar she wouldn’t go to no motion picture show with me, but he didn’t know she had made eye contact with me in the Dining Hall the year before when she came to visit her pal sister for Homecoming Week and, no sooner than she left to go back home, her sister slipped me a note from her, and I answered  it, telling her I would like to get to know her better too; but my letter somehow fell into the hands of her over-protective mother, who was hoping to save her from the unhappy experiences with men that had befallen her older sisters. So that was the end of that. 

I myself was just a country boy, at the top of my class scholastically but born and raised on a farm forty miles from Black Wall Street, outside of Slick, Oklahoma, while Julia Ann Reed (eventually Dr. Julia Hare) was a city girl with personality and sass. So when we took up with each other, everybody said our relationship wouldn’t last, that even our sun signs didn’t match.

But in less than two months I had given her a birthday gift of a recording of Nat King Cole’s hit song, “Unforgettable,” because I had seen she liked it so. I could see that she was thrilled to high heaven that I had even given it to her; and she would play it over and over on the juke box, and she and I would sometimes slow-dance together.  But, while I could slow dance alright, especially in dark and familiar but unchaperoned places, and halfway jitterbug -- I didn’t know how to huckle buck at all, let alone to Suzie Q -- but Julia was a dancing queen.

Sometimes when everybody was on the dancing floor in the Student Union Building, a gay artistic dancer, say, might take her hand and they would do the tango around the edge of the crowded dancing hall while we all stopped what we were doing and watched them go.  And she was equally adept at the ballroom and the waltz.  Students eventually voted her “Best Girl Dancer” campus-wide, as well as “Most Popular Girl”; and “Most Talented Girl.” For, not only was she one of the best piano players on the campus, in time she would become the regular university organist.

When I graduated and left Langston on a Danforth Fellowship to study for the Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, a pretty big thing there in those days, Julia soon went to California in her childhood dream of someday making it in the music and entertainment world, and to help her older sister, an impregnated high school dropout with five children, whose husband had gone down to the drug store one night to get some medicine for one of their sick children and just kept going, never to be heard from until he turned up trying to make it in the jazz world in New York.

Suffice it to say it was after considerable agony and ambivalence that Julia tabled her dreams for fame and fortune and rendezvoused with me in Tulsa and we were married in her mother’s house two days after Christmas when we were all of 23. Then in Chicago, rather than get by on my budgeted fellowship and a part-time job as a statistical clerk, Julia got a job as a substitute teacher.

I used to feel sorry for her when she would get up winter mornings and cook me eggs and waffles and pancakes and bacon in time for her to be ready when her teachers van came in the cold to take her from the Southside of Chicago to teach unruly children in the Westside slums on the other side of the windy city. 
Soon her girlfriends and female coworkers began to cock their heads to the side and crow that they “wouldn’t work while no man went to school.” The reason I know she wasn’t lying is one of my sisters and her teacher friend upstairs told her that in my presence, to my face. They quipped that I was getting a Ph.D. while she was getting a PHT (Putting Hubby Through) and then go on to warn her that as soon as I got the Ph.D., I was going to leave her for a younger woman -- never mind that we were still in our twenties. 
But Julia stuck by me and persevered. Julia was the kind of woman who would stand by her man until he was headed in a better direction and she could get in front of him.

I got the idea of persuading her to study for a master’s degree herself, so they would be jealous of both of us and by the time I got the Ph.D. she had earned an M.M.ED. from the music department of what is now Roosevelt University’s College of the Performing Arts.  Although she would later also pick up a doctorate in educational psychology, an Ed.D., she was always fond of saying that she was proudest of her MRS, allowing that she had had to work so much harder for the MRS.

When we left for Washington D.C., in part so I could join with E. Franklin Frazier, though he would end up dying before the end of  the school year. Julia still had her own ambitions on hold, and she was taken aback when we got to D.C. and, in spite of her years of teaching experience in Chicago, plus one year each in Virginia and Oklahoma, the Board said she wasn’t qualified to be a substitute teacher in D.C., compelling her to commute in winter weather to teach in a white school in Maryland for a year before the black Board in D.C. deigned to hire her to teach in the black schools in the slums of the District.

Yet In just four years, she would go on to win the Outstanding Young Educator Award (teachers 35 years old and under) from the Junior Chamber of Commerce collaborating with World Book Encyclopedia, with the expert judgment of the Department of Education at American University to recognize her as the most commendable teacher thirty-five and under for every grade level for all of the city of Washington, D.C.
But the following year, I myself was fired from Howard University, along with another black professor and five white ones, for so-called “Black Power activities.” I returned to boxing, this time under my own name – I had quit before when two world champions were killed in the ring one year apart and she had already been getting the heebie-jeebies over the boxing, making big mirations over some cut lip or bloody nose. I’d tell her you ought to see the other guy. Then, after promising her I was going to quit, and did, two weeks later on All Fools Day, I took a shot or two of vodka and went down to the old Capitol Arena to see a friend fight, and was visiting in the dressing room, when  somebody’s opponent didn’t show up and ,I agreed to take the fight, which was an easy win, but two deans recognized me fighting under the name of Nat Harris, and the top dean called me in in a day or two and gave me an ultimatum which almost motivated me to return if I hadn’t promised Julia. Anyway, I had one fight in the comeback under the name of Nathan Hare, winning by a knockout in the first round, before I was asked to become the Coordinator of Black Studies at San Francisco State University.

Now Julia was not a conscious herself at that point, but a bourgeois lady suddenly challenged to become a revolutionary’s wife and drown her dreams in a revolutionary life. But San Francisco had always been her favorite city, and her two older sisters were still living in the Bay Area, and her school teacher coworkers had sometimes been snide to her about  the things they read in the newspaper about me and Howard, and she had never wanted me to box anyway, let alone under my own name and everybody was waiting to see me on my back on the front page of the Washington Post with my feet sticking up -- so she pushed me, like most other people did, to accept the offer from San Francisco State.

After closing out our apartment and her job as a laboratory teacher headed for the Board of Education, she came to San Francisco  and went down to the Board of Education here, armed with the citywide award from Washington, D.C. and thirty units beyond the master’s degree and a passing score on the National Teachers Exam, only to be told that in order to be a substitute teacher in San Francisco, she would have to take a course in Teacher’s Arithmetic and another in California History.
Makes you wanna holler.

She declined the psychotic suggestion and within a couple of months the Director of the Oakland Museum preparing to reopen happened to be in the audience when she, unemployed, was speaking on a panel at the Black Today conference I was chairing at San Francisco State, and the museum director recruited her as Director of Education. She had worked the previous summer in a program directed by one of the bigtime museums in New York City.

Julia was in her element at the Museum, and got on well with the society set. Aside from her interest  in the arts, she was in her dream world social element, as she had come to admire Jackie Kennedy and was always studying the women’s and the fashion magazines, even before she worked at the Oakland Museum, and had a Saks card but was not a spendthrift and loved to shop anywhere, including the thrift stores, using Jackie Kennedy once  more as an inspiration. She knew how to put what little clothes she had together. Sometimes her affluent friends would be affronted when they would throw down big money for something they saw in a clothing store window, then get to an occasion and everybody would be praising Julia’s outfit from the thrift shop, though, like I said, she was not averse to using her Saks card. One night we wound up at a high level reception where a blue collar woman I happened to know was also taken with thrift stores and also appeared to me to be an unusually creative dresser.  I determined to introduce them to each other, but before I could do so, they had spied each other from across the room, though total strangers, and introduced themselves to each other.

But that was the way she was.

She worked at the Oakland Museum maybe a year while it was preparing to reopen and she and the white multimillionaire Director got the idea of making it a people’s museum and carry the art like Meals on Wheels to the people in the community. This horrified he museum’s docents, who had discovered her connection to me and hence the five-month strike for Black Studies raging at San Francisco State. For instance, one night Julia sat with the Director and his wife waiting for me for dinner at a downtown restaurant when they looked up and saw me getting arrested on the Walter Cronkite CBS Evening News, along with five hundred and fifty seven predominantly white Black Studies strikers at San Francisco State. The Oakland Museum Director was fired and eventually became President of the California Historical Society, but meanwhile I backed Julia’s wish to resign.

Julia’s black consciousness also took a leap when James Baldwin’s sister, Dr. Rena Karefa Smart, invited me to speak to the Conference on Racism put on by the World Council of Churches in London in the spring of 1969, and I took Julia with me, stopping at St. Louis University on the way to pick up her fare, impressing her at the Custom’s window by nonchalantly counting and talking of pounds and shillings. She enjoyed the week in London, where I also took part in a demonstration with the daughters of Richad Wright, Rachel and Julia Wright. When we returned to San Francisco, Julia announced to me that she was going to start wearing an Afro.

Her next job was as Public Information Director of the West tern Regional Office of the National Association Against Discrimination in Housing. Then, after two years she beat out seventy finalists for Community Affairs Director of Cowboy Gene Autry’s radio station in San Francisco, KSFO, where she flourished for all of ten years, including eventually some on-air broadcasting time in a sidekick role in the morning drive, until she ran into trouble with a new manager and took a part-time job as a talk show host with the number one talk show station in San Francisco. ABC’s KGO. However, in spite of the fact that she appeared to be one of the very best they had, they would not give her air time in the day time on weekdays, so she eventually sued the station for harassment and her three year contract was not renewed.

Despite picking up a course for a while in the broadcasting department at the City College of San Francisco, unemployment at forty-eight was her darkest hour. Plus she was a people’s person, a performer, and didn’t like sitting at home, while I was a thinker and a writer and would have loved to change places with her as it was no accident that she became a radio talk show host and had married a psychotherapist, for whom listening had achieved the status of both an art form and a healing art.

It hurt me to see how hard she was taking her fate. At the time, I was going around the country on the chitlin college lecture circuit pushing a male/female relationships movement on the wind of an incredibly popular editorial I had written for Ebony magazine, speaking out for a better black family based on Kupenda (Swahili for “to love”) black love groups I had been experimenting with at the time. I thought that it would be natural and nice to have a couple speaking on black male/female relationships instead of a solo spouse. I also was inspired by the fact that we had made our own poem rhyme as a couple, and wanted to share the love, so I asked her to come with me, and she agreed, and I named her “National Executive Director” of the Black Think Tank I was running at the time.

Julia had always been a very good speaker – she’d won the award in “Auditorium” in the third grade in Tulsa, and the experience as a radio broadcaster and talk show host also seemed to augment her impromptu facility. Plus, people didn’t know she was farsighted and could see the copy standing back from the podium while also exploiting her radio broadcaster’s ability to read-talk off of next to nothing, causing it to appear that she wasn’t using any notes or anything at all.

Having time all day, she used the time and worked hard learning the sociological material and preparing and practicing her speeches and was soon being hailed as “one of the most sought after motivational speakers in the country.” She spoke to most of all of the black women’s groups and even men’s groups, especially the mentoring conferences and began to be included in selections of distinguished black women. For instance she became a regular at the annual Essence Cultural Festival in New Orleans, but she spoke to all the leading black women’s groups and they all seemed to think a lot of her.

Then, though not at her best when she appeared on the Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Race Conference at Plymouth Rock in 2008, her comments went viral and seemingly all at once she got more than a million hits from around the world; but later, I stood perplexed after the widest circulating newspaper in Great Britain, “Black Voices,” gave her the two-page centerfold, under the headline, “The Female Malcolm X,” and offered to bring her for a tour of Europe, but she declined, saying she was afraid to fly over the ocean.
Then, she began to forget and lose important and familiar things; which should have alerted me, but I was blinded by psychological denial as well as a lack of knowledge and familiarity with Alzheimer’s, up close and face to face. I should have been alerted because she had never gotten over the fact that her mother put her father in the rest home after he went and got a rifle to her and her mother fell and injured her foot and couldn’t keep up with him.

But I was not there, though I visited him with her briefly in the rest home, but he always had a quiet and retiring disposition, a man of very few words, and I had no idea of the difficulties a demented elder can present, how unmanageable some can be, and how to relate to them and manage their behavior. 
But by 2011, it was clear that something was wrong with Dr. J, despite her trying to hide it, and such a good actor at that. Her mother didn’t know that and drove her to play the piano, but her talent was more in her voice box and her being than her fingers. Plus, she had always relied on me for information, seeing me as a fountainhead of knowledge (she said she thought I was a “genius”). So I continued to play the role, but she wound up in confinement, with me duped by the medical establishment and conventional wisdom and custom.

First it was 72 hours for her safety and mine, then it’s two weeks for hers when I opt out, then a month. They told me I’d have to have a “power of attorney” to make any decisions over her niece and them, but by then I had seen how oppressive involuntary confinement was to her: involuntary because most people will stay and just be bored and lonely, because after a while people don’t visit that much. Sometimes I would leave the office for visiting hours and be the only one there visiting anybody in the “Acute Psychiatric Ward,” for they have a mixture, which is demoralizing in itself to be in a place of the openly and acutely insane – like how did I come to this? – and people bellowing and moaning, sometimes in a different language, so you don’t know what they’re saying they will do to you, all day long. One night the house psychiatrist came out unsolicited by me and opined that I shouldn’t visit so often, but I paid her no mind.

And yet, I admired how the staff could handle her, though she was the hardest patient of all for them to handle in a locked up condition. They liked her nevertheless and brought in a portable piano and allowed her to to entertain the other inmates anytime she wanted to. One night in casual conversation with me, she referred to her situation as “incarceration.” I knew for a fact she had never read Psychiatrist Thomas Ssazz, though I had, but even I hadn’t read his “The Medicalizaton of Everyday Life,” in which he independently called involuntary confinement of patients “incarceration.”

Each night when the visiting hour was over, I would have to conspire with the staff to distract her while I sneaked out the door without her; but, by the time I would hear the  ominous prison-like click of the closing of the door, the nonchalant staff would have turned her loose and I would hear her sorrowfully knocking on the door and desperately calling out my name to help her, like Maria calling Roberto at the end of “For Whom the Bells Toll.”

I thought of the marital vows when I had stood with my hand on a Bible and promised to love her and protect her until death do us part. I also wondered and imagined what she would have done if they would lock me up against my will for medical treatment of a condition they admit they can’t cure or rightly treat and don’t really even know what causes it.

What would she have done if I was the one on the other side of the door of sanity in an insane world, where the  most powerful man in existence is collectively described as mentally ill by thirty top psychiatrists and such. I recalled how she would sometimes say in other random but serious circumstances and idle speculation: “If anybody ever bothers you [or do harm in any way], no telling what I would do; I will tear up this town.”

The next morning I woke up early from a largely sleepless night and called some of the  San Francisco State College BSU leaders from the 1960s Black and Ethnic Studies Strike: including a physician who consults worldwide on Alzheimer’s, a retired judge, a retired lawyer or two, a community organizer in San Francisco and another visiting from the East Coast, and went out and brought her home.

That was almost six years ago, when she was diagnosed in the late moderate stage. However, my collaborators had noted and remarked on Julia’s visible improvement after an hour of freedom. But later she would develop a bed sore and go through hospice, at home under a visiting clinic, indeed two, as the one who refused before now wanted to come in under new Medicare guidelines from Obamacare. They brought in the death apparatus and stored it in the apartment in full anticipation. A physician sat for at least twenty minutes explaining to me why the bedsore wouldn’t heal, but it did, though I do believe that if Julia had been confined again she would have died, literally, under categorizing and caring staff prescript.

Mind you, they’re good in what they do, they just need to do it in the home and community.. We have the technology to do so: computers, internet and social networks, cars. S.U,B’s, bicycles, scooters, cellphones with cameras in the back while pointed at you. It would be cheaper as well, for people in their home are already paying rent.

In any event, I did what I had to do: stand by my wife who had stood by me; but more than that, it just seems there is something wrong with incarcerating a proud and dignified lady in the final stage of her life cycle, against her will, don’t care if she has never had so much as a parking ticket in her life.
Mental Health Is Tied to Social Health

I have learned on a deeper level that mental health is tied to social health, and I am gratified and impressed by the way people are getting behind the movement to deal with the Alzheimer’s epidemic and coming pandemic. I liked it when Barack Obama called for a cure by 2025, and it looks to me if interest keeps mounting as it has in recent years, we will meet that goal; but though it would be a blessing to so many others, it won’t do Julia any good or mend a broken heart.

I want to acknowledge that I could not have stood by Julia in her present ordeal, if so many people hadn’t stood by me, or the few hadn’t stood by me so well. While it is true, and has been said, that most people, especially the ones you’d most expect, will not lift a finger to help a flea, I have been amazed by the quality and the quantity of help and the quantity of the quality of help Julia and I have received from too many to mention. I must find a way some day to thank them in a circumstance that might prevent leaving somebody out.

When I jumped out with promises and parachutes that didn’t open or got snagged, I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I was so ignorant of Alzheimer’s it’s a shame. Partly because people had been prone to hide the demented in the closet, so to speak, or put them away altogether, lock them away if necessary. 
I often stand and look back now and realize how many people I encountered in the past  who had Alzheimer’s and I didn’t know it: we just lumped them in the loose category of “senile,” a net big enough to encompass almost anybody elderly individual. Two things people think about an old person they meet: they are senile and got some money or something of value under the mattress or somewhere, and the young person is going to try to get it if  they can; not that they necessarily need it, just so they can get it and have it.
As for Julia, I regret to say that at this point she is going down slow, fast. She is doing well in her physical health and emotionally but Alzheimer’s is a progressively deteriorating disease, and you can see her going down in a cognitive way, something like month by month.

She has lost much of her ability to speak and function by now, but I can tell that she knows more than she can say.

People ask me if she still remembers me, if she knows who I am, and I am compelled to quibble, but I say yes, on her current level, she has forgotten much of the old me but she knows me as she knows me now, and of course what is more important, is I know who she is.

She still knows herself well enough to answer to her name, if you are trying to get her attention, though you can usually get her attention without calling her name, say by simply using the remote to raise or modulate the volume on the cablevision, or by playing her one of her favorite songs on the computer, something I do for an hour or two on many an evening after the sun goes down, and you can tell she is exceedingly gratified, just to have the attention but she will use her hand to direct the music in the air. When we were 24 years old and I was teaching for a year at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia, she was the Minister of Music, including choir director, for the oldest black Baptist church in America, the Harrison Street First Baptist Church, which still exists. At one point, needing more male voices, she even recruited me to sing in the choir and once gave me a solo part to sing. I just acted like I was in the shower.

So I know there will inevitably come a time when she will have forgotten me altogether without a doubt, but I will remember her: that she sometimes gave me a hard time in good times but always stood by me in times of trouble, always took my side.

She continues to live at home with Alzheimer’s and find exquisite enjoyment in the instrumental music on 24/7 cablevision, as she was a pianist by background and training and by temperament a dramatist but became a scholar primarily as my longest and most continual student. Though going down slow these days in a cognitive sense, she is doing well physically and emotionally, enjoying interacting with her caregivers and me and the special attention I try to give her because maybe I didn’t always love her quite as often as I could have when times were good, little things I should have said and done but didn’t take the time. So I just try to fill her life with whatever joy I can and always love her all the time.

So, even when it comes to the point that she no longer remembers me, I will remember her, and I will recall that she was unforgettable and thought I was unforgettable too.

 Marvin X outside the door of the Hare's apartment they've resided at since 1973 on Jackson Street, San Francisco
photo Adam Turner

Marvin X, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Nathan Hare, Attorney Amira Jackmon, Yale and Stanford Law School graduate, baby daughter of Marvin X

 Marvin X, daughter Muhammida, Julia, Nisa Ra (former wife of Marvin X and mother of Muhammida), Nathan Hare:
Black Love Lives interview

 Marvin X and Auntie Dr. Julia Hare, Praise be to 'Allah!
Time is a mother, no more private concerts for Marvin X, et al.

After a restful night, I got up early this morning to make my daily round: to the bank, cleaners, community medicine man and distilled spirits store. As I had ample food at home, there was no need to go to the supermarket, although I have been wanting to cook some popcorn for several days. When I had to babysit for my daughter over the weekend, I started to take some her popcorn, but I forgot about it when my babysitting duties were over, happy and relieved to go home to my own bed, although I see I must spend more time with my seven year old granddaughter Naima, especially since I was chided by my daughter, "You taught Jahmeel black history, teach Naima some too--you slacking, Dad!" said Attorney Jackmon as she exited to a Black Excellence affair.

But after finishing my daily round, I returned home to my apartment by Lake Merritt and entered my apartment as my cell phone rang. It was Dr. Hare. I saw he had called three times and since I hadn't talked with him in a few days, I knew it was time to return his call. First I said my usual prayers when entering my house, i.e., the Fatihah and Ikhlas, just to be thankful I returned home safely from the "Danger Zone" (See Ray Charles song by the same name).

I took a sip of the distilled spirits and indulged my package from the medicine man. Then I returned Dr. Nathan Hare's call. Although I often do not return his calls because I cannot understand his rapid fire speech as those who know him know he is often incomprehensible, after all, he is the writer, Julia was the talker. This day I understood when he told me Julia had passed during the night, yes, his wife of 68 years. Trying to lift his spirit, I said, "Doc, we lucky to stay together 68 minutes these days." He laughed. He told me again why he did not confine his wife as Alzheimer's took her down slowly, as the medical authorities suggested and some friends as well. He'd told me many times, "I don't know how to confine my wife of 68 years! I don't know how!" In this loveless world of today, who cannot understand the true love of Julia and Nathan Hare? They are the supreme couple who model Black Love Lives!

Now, let us understand that Julia was a personality in her own right--a newspaper in the UK said she was the female Malcolm X! One need only view her perhaps greatest performance at Tavis Smiley's Black Forum when she stole and stopped the show completely and totally. Check out the video on Youtube.

FYI, after becoming the elder cousin of my tribe (Jackmon/Murrill), I adopted Julia and Nathan as my aunt and uncle. 

What I miss most about Dr. Julia Hare and what I shall miss forever is the private piano concerts she used to give me when I visited the Hare's at the apartment they have resided at on San Francisco's Russian Hill. Aside for her mastery of public speaking, Julia was a trained classical pianist and she never failed to give me a private concert when I visited this most endurable couple in the history of North American Africans.

I told Dr. Hare to catch his breath but if he agrees, we shall celebrate the life of Dr. Julia Hare at Geoffery's Inner Circle, where we celebrated his 80th birthday, at which he was not able to attend because he was attending to his wife. Black Love Lives!
--Marvin X

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District honors Marvin X, BAM and BAMBD co-founder

 Saturu Ned and Marvin X discuss the Black Panther Party and the Black Arts Movement
at San Francisco Apple Store, Union Square, in celebration of Black History Month, 2019

Black Arts Movement and Black Arts Movement Business District co-founder Marvin X received the BAM Award and Reward from Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, founder of the BAMBD CDC and the Lower Bottom Playaz. The occasion was BAMFEST, the month long celebration of the Black Arts Movement Business District, established by the Oakland City Council, January 19, 2016. The poet/activist was honored last night at the Blue Dream, a venue at 1300 7th Street, West Oakland, the neighborhood where the poet grew up. Two of his childhood friends were present at the event: Tom Bowden and Leon Teasley. The poet read from his latest book Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X, accompanied by Dr. Nzinga, his former theater student at Laney College and actress in X's Recovery Theatre. San Francisco. They read A Fictional Interview with President Obama, Driving Miss Libby (Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf) and Ayo ended with Woman on the Cell Phone.
The poet will return to the Blue Dream in March. In March he will join poets reading at the San Francisco Main Library in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Black and Third World Strike at San Francisco State University.

West Coast Black Arts Movement associates, left to right: Cat Brooks, Marvin X, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, Geoffery Grier, Cheryl Fabio, Tom Bowden and Eric Arnold
photo Adam Turner

Marvin X  Bay Area Tour  2019

February 20,  Wed. 6pm
BAMFEST Oakland 
Blue Dream
1300 7th Street, West Oakland
 Reading/book signing
  Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter

February 22, Friday
 Hunters Point, San Francisco
Hunters View Community Room
901 Fairfax Avenue
Call 510-575-7148 for more information.
Refreshments served 

March 24
Blue Dream 
1300 7th Street. West Oakland
Art of Storytelling
Marvin X et al.

San Francisco Main Library
Larkin Street
Marvin X reads with poets in
celebration of the 50th Anniversary of
the Black and Third World Strike at
San Francisco State University

At the 2014 UC Merced 50th Anniversary of the Black Arts Movement, Marvin X announced the
Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra